You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Grains of Salt, Keep Them Handy

A while ago Ezra Klein said he wasn't obsessively following the declarations of every member, in part because everybody would be posturing and he couldn't take their statements at face value. He's got the right idea. It's hard to ignore what members say and, surely, often those statements have actual news value. But, at a time like this, you should assume that anything a lawmaker says may not be indicative of how that lawmaker atually feels--or, at least, how that lawmaker will feel in a few days. The same goes for administration officials, outside advocates, and everybody else connected to this debate.

If you don't believe me, I highly recommend this item from David Kurtz at TPM. It's about Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who declared yesterday he was prepared to vote "no" on the Senate bill because he is (understandably) unhappy about its restrictive immigration provisions. Constituents subsequently called to complain, saying they wanted him to vote "yes" on health care reform, despite its flaws. Based on what they heard in response, Gutierrez hasn't made up his mind at all.